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Coombsville AVA
Coombsville AVA
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Coombsville AVA
Coombsville AVA
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Coombsville AVA
Coombsville AVA

Images Courtesy of Suzanne Becker Bronk

The Coombsville AVA is a Napa Valley Appellation with a wide range of elevations and known for its cooler, marine influenced climate directly east of the City of Napa. It was officially designated as a Napa Valley sub-appelation in 2011.

Appellation Details

Tucked into the foothills of the Vaca Mountains, the Coombsville AVA is a Napa Valley Appellation known for its temperate climate directly east of the City of Napa and was officially designated as a Napa Valley sub-appelation 2011. Coombsville is Napa Valley’s newest nested appellation and remains one of the least visited. This is because it is composed primarily of vineyards with only the occasional winery. Coombsville spreads out to the west of the town of Napa and up the slopes of Mt. George. The vast majority of vineyards spread across a west-facing concave bowl formed through millenia of landslides. The soil is primarily volcanic in origin and proximity to the Bay keeps the area awash in fog and sea breezes. Historically, the region was associated with Pinot Noir and especially Chardonnay plantings but many admire the backbone of the region’s Cabernet Sauvignons.

Because of its proximity to the San Pablo Bay, Coombsville experiences cooler temperatures compared to AVAs further north, allowing winemakers to harvest grapes later and at more developed phenolic ripeness. Therefore, many wines from Coombsville show generous soft tannins and notes of dark black fruits such as blackberry and blackcurrant while retaining moderate alcohol and refreshing acidity.

Shaped like a horseshoe, the combination of unique landforms and large elevation differences gives the Coombsville Viticultural Area a fog-protected partial basin with high surrounding ridges which create climatically unique features, including precipitation and heat summation.


  • 100 to 1,000 feet (30-305 m)
  • The elevation of the Coombsville AVA changes from near sea level where it meets the Napa River in the west, to a high of 1900 feet above sea level at the top of the Vaca Mountain Range.


  • Abundant rock, gravel and volcanic ash in some areas
  • Dominated by volcanic rhyolitic tuff sedimentary rock and ancient lava flow deposits
  • Well drained
  • Upland soils are weathered from their primary volcanic source
  • Low land soils are alluvial in nature


  • Cooler, influenced by proximity to San Pablo Bay
  • Daily average high temperatures can be as much as 10°F cooler during hot months than most other AVAs
  • Heat spikes tend to be less severe.
  • Cooling effects of marine influenced fog occur almost daily during growing season.


  • Up to 25 inches (65 cm) annually

Principal Varieties:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Chardonnay
  • Merlot
  • Syrah
  • Pinot Noir

Coombsville AVA History

Nathan Coombs

Nathan Coombs

Coombsville AVA is named after Nathan Coombs, one of the early settlers of Napa County who purchased the area as part of the original Rancho Tulocay from Juarez Cayetano in 1845. Nathan Coombs went on to found the City of Napa on this piece of land in 1847. However, the part of the land grant on the east side of the Napa River was left mostly rural and was focused on farming and livestock.

From the 1840's on, Coombsville’s agricultural orientation was initially focused on livestock and subsistence farming as opposed to vineyard development. It was only in the mid-20th century that the region began to attract attention from grape growers and vintners.

During prohibition, there was little to no wine produced in the area and prune orchards were the dominant form of agriculture. However, vintners began to appreciate the unique climate and geographic features in the mid to late 1960's. In the mid 1970's and continuing into the 1980's more wineries were founded in the area, establishing Coombsville as a unique wine growing region. In 2011, Coombsville was officially recognized as an American Viticultural Area.


"Coombsville has been called the ‘cup and saucer appellation’ due to the distinctive circular pattern of the surrounding hills, which geologists define as an ancient volcanic caldera. The volcanic soils and cooler temperatures from Coombsville’s proximity to the San Pablo Bay contribute to the minerality and precision of the tannins here. The wines have a freshness that is exciting."
- Annie Favia, Favia Wines

Notable Wines sourced from Coombsville AVA

Mia Carta
Mia Carta 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon

A reflective Cabernet Sauvignon from the area of Coombsville.

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William Hill Estate Winery
William Hill Estate Winery 2018 'Coombsville Chardonnay' Chardonnay

About the Wine: Our inaugural Coombsville Chardonnay is distinct in both its sourcing and its production technique. This single-vineyard Chardonnay was fermented in concrete eggs, resulting in a site-driven, elegantly textured wine. Bright and lively, it opens with aromas of wet stone, honeydew melon and jasmine, followed by juicy notes of lemon and ripe Bartlett pear. The mid-palate creaminess adds dimension to the wine, while vibrant acidity gives way to a clean, refreshing finish. Viticulture Notes: The 2018 vintage began, like the previous vintage, with ample winter rains. The summer was warm and welcomingly steady, yielding complex, well-developed fruit. Our Chardonnay was sourced entirely from Haynes Vineyard, some of whose old Wente clone plantings date back to the mid-1960s and are still producing. This Chardonnay reveals its marine-influenced origins with subtle savory undertones.

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Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa 2014 'Butala Vineyard' Cabernet Sauvignon

This single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the Butala vineyard in the Coombsville AVA and was once owned by Tony Butala of the singing group, The Lettermen.

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Jean Edwards Cellars
Jean Edwards Cellars 2020 'Angel Acres' Cabernet Sauvignon

From a small vineyard located in the Coombsville AVA. We blended in 5% malbec from Beckstoffer Melrose Vineyard.

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Coombsville AVA Resources and References

  1. "Establishment of the Coombsville Viticultural Area" (76 FR 77677). Federal Register. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. December 14, 2011. pp. 77677–77684
  2. Doren, Kelly (December 15, 2011). "Coombsville becomes Napa's 16th appellation". Napa Valley Register. Napa, CA: Lee Enterprises, Inc. Retrieved December 16, 2011.
  3. Palmer, Lyman L.; Wells, Harry Laurenz (1881). History of Napa and Lake Counties, California. Slocum, Bowen & Company. ISBN 978-1363000555.
  4. Weber, Lin (1998). Old Napa Valley: The History to 1900. Wine Ventures Publishing. ISBN 9780966701401.
  5. Coombsville AVA. (n.d.). Retrieved September 23, 2022, from http://www.coombsvillenapa.org/

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